BOSTON – A commercial waste handler in Rhode Island will pay a fine and provide hazardous chemical cleanup and education at local schools to resolve claims it violated state and federal hazardous waste laws at its Providence facility, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday.
Northland Environmental and its owner, PSC Environmental Services, has agreed to pay a $58,278 fine and spend $252,152 on cleanup at 60 schools within a 50 mile radius of its Providence facility.
In addition to properly disposing of hazardous and non-hazardous waste stored at the schools, the companies will provide hazardous waste training for science and art teachers, and purchase safety equipment for classrooms where hazardous chemicals are used.
“We are pleased to see funds from EPA actions like this reinvested in making Rhode Island a cleaner and safer place,” said Terrence Gray, associate director for air, waste and compliance at the R.I. Department of Environmental Management, in a statement. “For many years, DEM has directly supported school districts across Rhode Island by removing old and unnecessary chemicals, but that effort has always been limited by the resources we have available. This recent investment extends this important initiative so that more of these dangerous materials can be taken out of our schools, providing a much safer environment for students and educators.”
EPA alleged the companies violated state and federal hazardous waste laws by failing to properly identify certain hazardous wastes and failing to properly maintain hazardous waste tanks and containers. The companies also stored incompatible wastes next to one another, creating a fire or explosion risk, according to an EPA release.
The companies quickly fixed the violations once they were identified, the release said.
The school programs will take place over the next 18 months.